I AM a lover of those who allow themselves to be vulnerable and authentic. I AM a person who believes in surrounding myself with as much positive energy as possible. This comes from the company I keep (my tribe), from the universe itself and from within my own soul.
That being said, it doesn’t mean that I can or want to surround myself with people who are constantly positive. I want to be near people who aren’t afraid to take their mask(s) off and show me the dirt, the bullshit and the pain in their lives. I also want to learn how they found their strength, their will, their survival skills, their hope. I want to know how, through it all and despite feeling temporarily broken, they never lost their capacity to love.
I want real. I want honest. I want vulnerable. I want raw. I want you to know you don’t need to tiptoe around on eggshells in front of me. When you are having an awful day, tell me. If you are sad, no fake smiles are wanted or needed. If you are scared, tremble within my hug. If you are grieving, cry on my shoulder.
Talk to me: share your grief, your chaos, your anger, your fear, your pain. I want you to spill it all and shed those tears every day until you smile a true, genuine heart and soul felt smile.
I don’t want your show, your disguises, your political correctness. If you are in my life, I want you, the real you; even when you aren’t comfortable in your own skin.
I want you to know you aren’t alone even when it seems like everyone else is against you. When I look into your eyes, I know there is a story there. Take comfort in the knowledge that I have been there. The most difficult yet best thing I have ever done was accomplished over a few weekends in early 2013. I took off the mask, tore down the walls and spilled my guts, first to strangers and then to my family and friends.
Although it may seem easier to bury our stories, feelings and fears inside, it’s really somewhat selfish. First, by keeping it all in, we don’t heal and in fact, set ourselves up for even more failure. Second, our stories, when shared, may help to inspire someone else either by knowing they are not alone going through a similar scenario or it may prevent them from going down the same path as we have done. We all then get to consider new perspectives and help each other to heal and grow.
Last night (7/10/18); I was humbled and flattered that someone asked to hear about my life…not just the happiness or the surface things this woman already knew, but the low points, the faults and failings, when I let someone down and when I was let down and hurt to my core. Then, I was given a blessing and a gift in that she she shared her life story. Even more powerful was that she trusted me in that moment to share portions that she never before spoke out loud.
Dr. Brene Brown writes, “The irony is that we attempt to disown our difficult stories to appear more whole or more acceptable, but our wholeness–even our whole-heartedness–depends on the integration of all of our experiences, including the fails.”
There is power in not staying silent. It is in owning our story and embracing our vulnerability to share that story that we begin to heal. We need our hearts to break sometimes and we need our souls to weep. When we break, we come alive. When we let ourselves break open and truly wrap our arms around how that feels, we get to expand. It is there in that raw openness and vulnerable state that the light gets in. When we follow this path and walk in the light, we step into our greatest self.
(Originally published in My Perspective 11/14/16; updated 7/11/18. There will be more about the rest of this story in a post later this week — “Black & White: It Can Be That Simple.”)